I love mixing colors…traditionally or digitally. There is something so wonderful about looking at colors as they develop. I have to admit, I haven’t been completely happy with Corel Painter’s mixer pad. It does a good job, I’m not saying that, but I have difficulty with it. I’ve seen others mix lots of colors beautifully with it. And, there are some who never use it at all. While making my latest set of watercolor brushes, I noticed that some mixed colors better than the mixer pad. I started testing and actually went back to the default Watercolor category in Painter 2015 and started using Watery Glazing Flat variant to mix colors directly in the document. I bet other transparent glazing type variants would work as well, but I haven’t tried them.
The transparent character of watercolor variants allows the paint to mix optically, which is why it is so beautiful in my opinion. It is possible to mix very vibrant colors, too, but I was going for more subtle combinations of soft colors. This image is a mix of Phthalo Blue Green, Cadmium Yellow Deep, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson. This one is the most vibrant of the ones that I did today.
Watercolor mix using Phthalo Blue Green, Cadmium Yellow Deep, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson
The next two examples are definitely more subtle and softer. I love the grayed feel of the colors. The top three rows are French Ultramarine, Aureolin, and Permanent Carmine. The last three rows are Phthalo Blue Green, Quinacridone Gold, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson. I am so attracted to these types of colors. I know this is a personal thing, but they do seem luscious to me.
Watercolor mixes. First three rows are French Ultramarine, Aureolin, and Permanent Carmin. The last three rows are Phthalo Blue Green, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Quinacridone Gold.
OK…want to know how to do this type of color mixing. It really is easy. In the first video, I start using Corel Painter’s mixer pad. It is fine and I get good color, but when I switch to mixing the same colors with a watercolor variant, I get many more choices…and I think better choices. But, judge for yourself.
In the second video, I mix three colors in one area using the watercolor variant. Then I sample the colors created. It is pretty cool. To alter any color, I can simply add more color to an area. That is hard to explain. Watch the video.
In part 3, I again use three colors painted inside of a selection. But this time, I drop the layer to the canvas layer and add a new white layer with a composite method of overlay. Doing this, brightens the mixed layer. Now I let Painter do the work and create a new color set from a selection. Deciding how many colors is always problematic. But, I really think 16 is the highest number needed and 8 might be just as good. What do you think?
As usual, I go off on a tangent in video 4, but I think it is an interesting tangent. I am still mixing colors using a watercolor variant, but instead of using the traditional concept that the primary colors are Red, Blue, and Yellow, I use the correct version of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. What? I knew you would say that. I know it is crazy. I toyed with this concept for several years and it is hard to wrap my head around it. Basically, old Issac Newton thought the primary colors were Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, but he couldn’t prove it. I think in the late 1800s or early 1900s, scientist began to tell us that the real primary colors were Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. What makes them primary is that they cannot be mixed and a mixture of them produces black, which is the same thing I have thought about Red, Blue, and Yellow. I am almost used to the idea that Pluto isn’t a planet and now this. Of course, I thought this was about light, but not pigments.
Hold on, not so fast…did you know that there are paint companies now producing tubes of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow as primary colors. Not all of course…this change will take some time and a steep learning curve…especially for older dudes like me. But, I have to admit, I find the concept strangely appealing and very interesting. And there is something to it. Take a look at the video and watch me mix blue and red. Something, I didn’t think could be done. Now, I haven’t tried this traditionally, but I’m thinking why not. So, what do you think about Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow as the real primaries?
The next video probably is overkill. I continue to mix Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, plus the secondary colors of Red, Blue, and Green. I was curious more than anything else. I wondered what colors would emerge. Really, once you get past the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow start, it seems pretty much like the traditional mixing methods. Actually when all is said and done, color mixing is pretty much intuitive or innate. But I do find the explorations fun.
I hope you enjoyed the techniques and will give them a try.